Can high-speed rail construction reshape the layout of China’s economic space: from the perspective of regional heterogeneity of employment, wage and economic growth

DONG Yanmei1,2 ZHU Yingming1

(1.School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing , China 210094)
(2.College of Business, Yancheng Teachers University, Yancheng , China 224051)

【Abstract】Based on the new economic geography theory, the article embeds high-speed rail construction factors into the research framework of space economic organization, and uses the PSM-DID method to carry out an empirical test. The results show that, at the national level, the indirect negative effect of high-speed rail construction on wage and economic growth generated by employment effects is less than the direct positive effect, and the total effect of high-speed rail construction on the wages and economic growth is significantly positive, with the elasticity coefficients being 0.2067, 0.1907 and 0.1491. In different regions and cities of different scale, the construction of high-speed rail significantly enhance employment in large cities with high speed rail in the eastern and central regions, especially the large high-speed rail city’s construction industry and high value-added manufacturing industries in the eastern regions and the small high-speed rail city’s employment of manufacturing industries and consumer services in the central area. Productivity growth effects of high-speed railway construction in the eastern large-scale high-speed rail cities exceed the effect of convenience of inhabitants, and it shows that the indirect effects of high-speed rail construction on the region’s wage and economic growth generated by jobs are positive, while the corresponding indirect effect is negative in medium- and small-sized high speed cities in central and western China. Overall, the construction of high-speed rail mainly expands the wage gap between the large high-speed rail cities and cities without high-speed rail in eastern China, and expands the eastern medium-sized cities’ economic growth gap between the high-speed rail and no high-speed rail cities. The result confirms the correctness of the theory of reasoning, that is, high-speed rail construction directly or indirectly affect employment, wage and economic growth of an area, reshape the economic space, which provides the basis for the region by means of high-speed rail to further promote regional employment and economic growth, and to develop relevant policies according to local conditions.

【Keywords】 high-speed rail construction; employment; wage; economic growth; PSM-DID;


【Funds】 Key Project of the National Social Science Foundation of China (15ZDA053) Youth Project of the Nation Natural Science Foundation of China (71603226) Youth Project in Humanity and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education of China (15YJCZH033)

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    [1]. ① Although, on the surface, HSR only relates to passenger transport, and does not have direct relationship with the transport of goods, but through the release of traffic resources for the transport, it exerts significant indirect influence,[8] so trading cost should also be considered here to study the influence after the HSR construction is done. [^Back]

    [2]. ① Effective supply of labor is also part of product supply. Labor as commodity should have “high quality” on the one hand and “low cost” on the other. High-speed railway construction can expand the scope of labor supply and improve the matching between high-quality labor supply and market demand and, on the other hand, can reduce the supply of labor costs, especially the cost of time. Therefore, the HSR construction is conducive to the promotion of effective regional labor supply. [^Back]

    [3]. ① In most of the prefecture-level HSR cities (especially the third-tier cities), the high-speed railway stations are located relatively far away from downtowns. The local governments hope to use the railway development opportunity to build metro, forming a new growth pole of driving regional economic development. Therefore, selecting data from the whole city rather than central districts can evaluate the HSR economic effects more accurately. [^Back]

    [4]. ② Due to the limitation of space, the descriptive statistics of each index’s data are not listed here, which are available upon request. [^Back]

    [5]. ① Due to the limitation of space, the PSM-DID results of industries are not listed here, which are available upon request. [^Back]

    [6]. ① Due to the limitation of space, the DID estimated results based on original data are not provided, which are available upon request. [^Back]

    [7]. ① The traffic network such as HSR connecting a group of cities is called corridors of cities. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-3536/F

Vol , No. 10, Pages 92-108

October 2016


Article Outline



  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Theoretical model
  • 3 Method and data
  • 4 Empirical results
  • 5 Robustness test
  • 6 Conclusions and implications
  • Footnote